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Hybrid vs Native Mobile App Development, Which Is Better?

The popularity of mobile apps is constantly growing. They empower businesses to increase the retention rate by providing an opportunity to interact with customers directly.

For users, mobile apps provide instant online and offline access to content and increase recognition and loyalty. Whenever a company needs to get an app developed, they face the dilemma of “native vs hybrid”.

Let’s go through the technologies used for Android and iOS and explore the difference between native and hybrid apps to see how they can affect app performance and the development process in general.

The mobile app development process is the key difference in light of building native and hybrid apps. Native apps are created for a specific platform, iOS, or Android, while hybrid apps aim for a presence on both Android and iOS.

Hybrid apps are based on cross-platform development frameworks using several programming languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

There is one main code to cover multiple platforms. The good thing is that if an app is built professionally users won’t likely see a dramatic difference.

However, for a business that wants to develop an app, these differences are of paramount importance.

Hybrid Applications

There are three most popular hybrid app development frameworks:

  • React Native (it allows rendering UI components for both android and iOS. One of its best features is that you can reuse the components on web and mobile platforms which saves a lot of time when developing).
  • Xamarin (it is used for creating high-performing mobile apps with native UI. It has access to native APIs for each operating system).
  • Ionic (its components are written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making it easy to build high-quality apps that perform well everywhere).
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Hybrid Applications Pros

  • Simple to build and test – The building and testing time are reduced as the code is created once and you don’t have to deal with each platform separately.
  • Single code base – Developers can write the code once and run it across both Android and iOS.
  • Short delivery time – You don’t need to have teams of professionals for every platform – you will need one comparatively small team of experts who can create a high-quality app.
  • Easy to maintain – Hybrid apps are incorporated in a native shell, so they can easily be updated when needed.
  • Low cost – Developing just one mobile app for different platforms can save a lot of money. The development process gets faster since you don’t have to build several versions for different operational systems.

Hybrid Applications Cons

  • Lower Performance – Hybrid apps can deliver a similar performance to native ones. But performance-centric apps work better on native.
  • Internet connection – Since cross-platform frameworks require sustained internet connection some functions may be unavailable to users if there is no internet access.

Native Applications

iOS and Android apps are built using different frameworks.

iOS development technologies:

  • Objective-C – It is a mature framework that has gained popularity due to its good development experience, available libraries, and a big pool of specialists.
  • Swift – It is a “young” programming language that is claimed to have quicker performance and to be easier to work with.

Android development technologies:

  • Java – Java is relatively simple and allows building modular programs and reusable code, which further simplifies development.)
  • Kotlin – It is an open-source language that is interoperable with the Java virtual machine, Java libraries, and Android. Its interface allows using a shorter syntax which helps to reduce development time.
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Native Applications Pros

  • Performance – Since the technologies are fully supported by the platform’s ecosystems and the native code retains direct access to the host’s functionalities, native apps run fast and smoothly.
  • Overall functionality – A native app can connect the hardware features and databases, so no plugins or extra tools are needed.
  • Data protection – Native apps use the full hardware capacity to process tasks and provide reliable data protection.
  • SDK for developers – Native app development provides half-ready, regularly updated solutions and libraries that interact properly with a given operating system.
  • Customer experience – Native apps have better performance and can work in offline mode.

Native Applications Cons

  • Distributed codebase – Native apps built for Android won’t work on iOS, so, you will have two or more codebases to maintain.
  • Time and money-consuming – Distributing users across platforms significantly increases the amount of work needed to keep two individual applications up and running.

Each company is eventually facing the dilemma of native app development versus hybrid app development. However, instead of trying to figure out which onesies better we suggest focusing on what fits your company best.

The truth is that both approaches have their benefits and shortcomings, as well as different companies, have different goals, budgets, strategies, and timeframes.

There is no single solution to every problem. Therefore, both hybrid and native apps will turn out to be the best solution for different companies.

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